Monu Manesar: Cow vigilante wanted for Nuh violence arrested from Haryana

Monu Manesar
Image caption,Cow vigilante Monu Manesar had been at large for months

Police in the north Indian state of Haryana have arrested a wanted cow vigilante accused of being at the centre of the deadly religious violence that broke out there last month.

Mohit Yadav, popularly known as Monu Manesar, is accused of instigating violence in Nuh district in which six people died and scores were injured.

He is also a prime suspect in the murder in February of two Muslim men in Rajasthan state.

He denies all the charges against him.

Mr Manesar was caught in Haryana on Tuesday. The state’s Additional Director General of Police Mamta Singh confirmed his arrest to the Times of India newspaper.

It was not immediately clear in which case has Mr Manesar been arrested, but police said they had charged him for uploading “objectionable and inflammatory” posts under a fictitious name on social media, reports the Indian Express.

At least six people, including a Muslim cleric, died and dozens of others were injured as mobs of Hindu and Muslim men clashed in Nuh last month.

Police said violence broke out after a religious procession by Hindu nationalist groups Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was pelted with stones. Indian media reports said the processionists had raised provocative religious slogans.

Mr Manesar’s name came up in the violence after residents in Nuh and several Muslim politicians said that a video by him, released just two days before the procession, had provoked the violence. It showed him appealing to Hindus to “participate in large numbers” in the procession.

A member of the hardline Hindu group Bajrang Dal, Mr Manesar is also a member of the Haryana government’s Cow Protection Task Force and the head of the Cow Protection Unit of Bajrang Dal in Nuh.

In the past, he has said that his “true calling is to protect Hinduism and cows” – an animal that many Hindus consider sacred.

Since the murders in February, police had said that Mr Manesar had been absconding – even though he continued to post new videos regularly on social media.

After the clashes in Nuh, he also gave several interviews to Indian TV channels where he denied any role in the violence.

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